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Migrants stranded at San Diego airport

Posted at 6:47 PM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 21:47:56-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After the county's migrant welcome center closed, some migrants are stuck at the San Diego Airport. This may amount to hundreds of people a night.

Local groups like "We All We Got" say they usually see 50 to 100 migrants a night who need help with their travel plans. Since the welcome center closed, they estimate that will balloon as high as 400 people a night.

People like Hassan, who's half a world away from home without so much as a backpack.

"I came to the United States yesterday," said Hassan, speaking to ABC 10News Reporter Moses Small in Arabic through a translation app. "I am leaving Mauritania because there is neither security nor freedom. I want security."

Hassan didn't have a plane ticket or money to buy one Fri. afternoon, and his only lifeline is nearly 3,000 miles away. His next stop is New York.

"I have no family to go to," said Hassan. "Just my brother and a friend."

Hassan says his brother is sponsoring him, so he believes he'll get a ticket by Fri night. It's another step in a long process to start a life where he feels safe.

"By God, my arrival is difficult," said Hassan. "But I am going here to America. I want security, stability and a secure life."

Migrants rights groups say it often takes hours for migrants to get to the airport, after Customs and Border Protection drops them off at transit centers. And some people schedule their plane tickets two or three days in advance to save money, leaving them stuck at the airport when they previously would have stayed at the migrant welcome center.

Groups including We All We Got plan to send volunteers to assist migrants at the airport by Fri. evening.